Small business optimistic about the future: CIBC poll

SMEs are planning for expansion to support growth.

September 13, 2012   by PLANT STAFF

TORONTO—A CIBC poll suggests 85% of Canadian small business owners are optimistic about the future success of their business, and many plan to expand in the next three years.

The poll, conducted by Leger Marketing, also shows new businesses are more eager to invest in an expansion than businesses that are established.

Other highlights of the poll include:

  • 43% of small business owners surveyed said they plan to expand their business within the next three years – including 59% of small business owners in the start-up phase, while only 34% of more established business owners are planning to expand
  • Businesses in Alberta (46%) and in Manitoba/Saskatchewan (47%) were among the most likely to want to expand, while businesses in Ontario (40%) were less likely to be planning an expansion

While economic uncertainty topped the list of obstacles that business owners said they needed to overcome, having access to adequate capital/financing and managing fluctuations in cash flow also ranked among the most significant obstacles to growth.


The poll also reveals that most businesses with an eye on expansion are focused on growing their business by investing in their existing operations domestically, while only25% of small businesses said they planned to expand their business outside of Canada.

Among Canadian small business owners planning to expand their business within the next three years, the following were ranked as the top ways they planned to expand:

  • 46% said they are planning to increase capacity/production
  • 41% said they are planning to increase marketing initiatives
  • 39% said they are planning to expand into new markets within Canada
  • 30% said they are planning to introduce a new product
  • 25% said they are planning to expand their business outside of Canada
  • 21% said they are planning to make a strategic acquisition

Business owners in Alberta (90%) and Quebec (90%), were the most optimistic about future success, according to the poll. BC (78%) and Ontario (83%) trailed the pack, suggesting business owners there are a little less positive.

The poll was conducted online in each province with a representative sample of 801 decision-makers from July 3-12.

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